Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Observations From the Back Row

By Rich Kozlovich

My primary theme for this week has been "scientific integrity is an oxymoron". There has always been a certain amount of fraud in science, and that must be expected because scientists have one thing in common with all other people....they're people, and people all have all the same wants, needs and desires that all other people have.  A priest once said; "if you can find the perfect organization join it.  But remember the minute you have joined it is now become somewhat less than perfect."

Scientists were once thought of so highly that they almost became omniscient in the eyes of the average man. That has changed because they may be smart people, but they are still people, and being people they got carried away with their own image of grandeur. What is the mechanism that caused this? The need to publish to survive and garner government grant money turned integrity on its head and science into a carnival show with all the hucksters, tricksters and disreputable characters. However, I don't think anything could have exposed this problem as well as "global warming.

There are a great many scientists out there that wouldn't trade their integrity for all the grant money in the world.  Global Warming has brought these courageous men and women to the fore also, and they have paid a penalty for their integrity.  I also think they represent the majority, albeit a ‘silent majority’.  Most scientists are not rocks in the current type people.  Having said that, I also believe that scientific fraud has become so common place that the phrase "scientific integrity is an oxymoron" is totally valid. "Life's tough... it's even tougher if you're stupid" - John Wayne

Statisticians can prove almost anything, a new study finds
Catchy headlines about the latest counter-intuitive discovery in human psychology have a special place in journalism, offering a quirky distraction from the horrors of war and crime, the tedium of politics and the drudgery of economics. But even as readers smirk over the latest gee whizzery about human nature, it is generally assumed that behind the headlines, in the peer-reviewed pages of academia, most scientists are engaged in sober analysis of rigorously gathered data, and that this leads them reliably to the truth.

Not so, says a new report in the journal Psychological Science, which claims to show “how unacceptably easy it is to accumulate (and report) statistically significant evidence for a false hypothesis.”…….. Under their proposed guidelines, though not under current accepted scientific practices, the authors would have been required to disclose that they in fact asked participants many other questions, and did not decide in advance when to stop collecting data, which can skew results. They also would have been obliged to disclose that, without controlling for father’s age, there was no significant effect, and the experiment was more or less a bust. “Our goal as scientists is not to publish as many articles as we can, but to discover and disseminate truth,” they write. “We should embrace these [proposed rules about disclosing research methods] as if the credibility of our profession depended on them. Because it does.”

EPA gives $25,000 grant to dance troupe to teach kids about air pollutionRep. Rob Bishop is a fan of the Repertory Dance Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, and the Utah Republican has attended many of the group’s performances over the years. But he can’t applaud a decision this week by U.S. EPA to give the group $25,000 to help produce an artistic program designed to teach school children about the dangers of air pollution.

My Take – The EPA ends grants to the lead agency in Ohio who has the primary responsibility to make sure pesticide applicators are properly trained, but gives all of this money to a dance school….for propaganda purposes. It is clear these idiots are incapable of handling the people’s money. Then again….Lenin and Hitler would have loved the concept. Socialists have always wanted to own the children. So when they claim something is for the children… really have to start looking closely at it because it is not usually for the children, it’s usually to the children...

WSJ: The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle
“Congress mandated purchase of 250 million gallons in 2011. Actual production: 6.6 million.”

The Wall Street Journal editorializes -‘We’ll fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”………
Junk science comment - To recap: Congress subsidized a product that didn’t exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn’t exist, is punishing oil companies for not buying the product that doesn’t exist, and is now doubling down on the subsidies in the hope that someday it might exist. We’d call this the march of folly, but that’s unfair to fools.

My Take – Please read the whole account….this is insane and obscene!

Sierra Club at the Metropolitan Club
My dirty secret is that I'm a member of the Sierra Club. I joined at the $15 rate for retired senior citizens and received a bonus shoulder bag. The Sierra Club idolizes nature and demonizes man. It glorifies economic parasitism and practices junk science. I joined because I am investigating the environmentalist movement, and I wanted to get their e-mails….. With junk science, it is easy to scare people. There are many things that are bad for us that are present at low levels in the environment -- for example, mercury, lead, radiation, or tobacco smoke. The junk science approach to trace toxins is to claim that if a high level of the bad thing would cause X people to get sick, then a level 10,000 times smaller must cause 1/10,000 as many people to get sick. Given 300 million people in the country, this math can give you thousands of people getting sick from low levels of mercury, lead, radiation, or secondhand tobacco smoke. This approach is known as the linear no threshold hypothesis…… From the bureaucratic point of view, the linear no threshold hypothesis is wonderful because it means that problems are never solved and there is always a need for more bureaucratic activity.


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